The One Thing Great Leaders Know That Others Don’t

Do you know the one thing amazing leaders know that average leaders don’t?

They know who they are.

For years I have battled this identity crisis. Not in a crazy way, but in the way of who I knew I was made to be and then how I allowed the expectations, voices, the pressure of others to impact me. Or worse, when I would yield to the people pleaser that had taken residence in my life as opposed to the leader I was designed to be all along.

You cannot become the leaders God created you to be until you have identified who you are. Once you know who God has called you to be, then you have to define what it takes to be a leader in the first place. Erika Anderson wrote an excellent book called Leading So People Will Follow. Throughout the book Erika digs deep into the qualities necessary to identify the core ingredients of great leaders. The funny thing about this book is that after all the research what Andersen uncovered was the traits of great leaders are the qualities followers look for in someone they want to follow.

Through her studies, Andersen observed that the acknowledged leader is:

Farsighted – Leaders who can recognize where we are today but have the vision to see where we can ascend. Farsighted leaders are great at vision casting even when the current situation does not equate to the picture they see in the future. What are you seeing for tomorrow that is not present today? I have a list if you want to help me pray. (jk)

Passionate – Passion is not just excitement, it’s a deep commitment to the goals or vision – and it’s relentless. Leaders with vision keep themselves and the organization aimed towards the target at all time which dictates every action, decision, and conversation. Passionate leaders are not dissuaded and genuinely manifest their passion when adversity arises. Rather than allowing him or herself to be discouraged, they become relentless! The thought of this alone fires me up! Passion is relentless. I want to be relentless, not just for my work but for my life, my goals, my family, and my ministry. Where would you find the most passion in your life today?

Courageous – You form courage in conflict. When the chips are down, the decisions are hard, and leaders are confronted with the lonely truth of leading, doing the right thing and not the popular thing takes courage. The courageous leader does not back down from hard times, but instead leans in and does what is necessary. They don’t make the safe or secure decision – they make the right choice. Joshua 1:9 is an excellent chance for you to take a shot of courage today.

Wise – Wisdom is being aware. Staying in a posture of learning, and not just from those around us but also from our own mistakes. Wisdom is learned and acquired. Curiosity enhances wisdom. Wisdom is implementing the data. Wisdom requires humility, teachability, and flexibility. Wisdom is shown when we remain thoughtful, kind, avoid the clutter, and accessible.

Generous – Generosity is not just about giving, it’s about investing without the concern of ROI. It’s making the people around them better. It’s about being confident enough in people to understand the need of having the best team around them – even at the cost of their ego. Generosity is being willing to do what’s necessary for the people that matter and the people that don’t impact the result. It’s about loyalty and caretaking. It’s more than coaching; it wants the absolute best for others regardless of the cost. Generosity is selfless and requires a leader to lead with an open hand.

Trustworthy – When they say it, you can believe it. You can count on them. Trustworthy leaders under promise, but over deliver. They avoid exaggeration. Exemplifying these characteristics build trust and develop a leader into someone we know we can follow – wholeheartedly – in good times and bad, for better or worse.

As followers and artists, we are always looking for the leader that we can build with and commit our best work too. We understand the cost, and we dive in because we know that together the artist and the leader can change the world!

As leaders, let us aspire to be the best examples of everything on this list!